Logan: To begin with, Amelia, give me a little personal background.
Amelia: You’re talking with Amelia (Burton) Phillips, 29 year old Australian, fitness nut and Blogger. I own Definition Health Club in Pitt st Sydney [Australia] where I get to witness thousands of transformations each year through health and exercise.
I am a personal trainer, presenter, and health coach. I’ve been in the industry 11 years, and I’ll let you in on a little secret: the fitness industry is the best industry in the world to become a part of. No matter which avenue you choose, the positive, motivated mindset of like minded people will help to propel you to new heights both personally and professionally. Well it did me!
Logan: Most Americans are curious and interested in Australia. Where were you born? Describe a little about the area, the geography, population, etc. How much of Australia have you visited?
Amelia: I was born in Sydney which has a population of 4 million and is about double the size of New York. I would liken Sydney to San Francisco, both bustling cities with a bejeweled harbor and trendy residents. I have been to most major Australian cities and seen a lot of the bush, but I am ashamed to say I haven’t seen much of Western Australia, or visited Eyres Rock (gigantic red rock). The Great Barrier Reef in Queensland is magnificent and worth visiting before it gets destroyed.
Logan: Are you married? Do you have children?
Amelia: I have two very important men in my life, one is 6' 7”, and the other is 15.3 hands high. I’m talking about Tim, my partner, and Cooper, my horse (and surrogate child)! They are both very jealous of each other and I have to make sure I share the love evenly. Australia had its first ever outbreak of equine influenza last year which halted the entire equine industry for six months. It meant we couldn’t compete in three day eventing, which led me to pursue marathon running. Cooper got a rest, and I found a new passion, running, that Tim enjoys too. Marriage and kids? That comes later!
Logan: You are someone who not only trains but is in the exercise and fitness profession. When did you first become interested in training? Was there anything in particular that led you to fitness as a vocation?
Amelia: It’s so funny because when does playing become training? I never ‘trained’ as a child but I was always running around, climbing trees, jumping on trampolines, probably working up just a much of a sweat as I do now. I remember doing some circuit classes as a young teenager, but to me that was just an extension of play. I’d say I started to take it more seriously when I started getting instruction. I joined the gym and they gave me a program. They set me goal weights to lift, and levels to get to. That’s when my competitiveness overtook the ‘play’ and I started to ‘train.’
I had some self confidence issues as a teenager (as do 99 percent of teenagers) and I found exercising in the gym a huge boost to my self esteem. When I started I couldn’t even hold myself in the push up position let alone do one, so to improve physically boosted my confidence immensely.
Logan: Most Americans think of Australians as being adventurous and enjoying sports. Yet, from what I read, overweight and obesity are major concerns in a high percentage of citizens, just as they are in the U.S.A. Is that a fair characterization?
Amelia: Unfortunately yes. We are lucky that we have mild weather conducive to training outdoors, beaches, parks, gyms, etc. But we also have, fast, cheap food, poor public transport that leads people to drive, remote controls, limited government initiatives, poor health education in schools and the generational challenge that overweight parents almost always raise overweight children. Australians love sports, but usually from the comfortable position of the couch!
Logan: If so, are there any indications that the tide is turning?
Amelia: I must be clear, there are two main sections of society I am referring to here. The inner city and the outer suburbs. City and beach dwellers are extremely active, both outdoors, in the gym, and competitively. All our public events such as fun runs seem to be growing each year, especially running events.
However it is the outer skirts of the city, the more suburban areas are where there seems to be a problem. A damning report came out last year addressing the severity of the rising obesity levels in this area. The government says they are addressing the issue by opening more parks, doing publicity campaigns, and installing more public transport, but I have yet to see this happen.
Five years ago our government allowed private health care companies to rebate up to $200 per year on gym memberships. They have since pulled that funding, making gyms much more expensive to join. That, to me shows little initiative to helping this great problem. The fitness industry is driving hard to change the tune of the government so hopefully shifts will occur.
Logan: Back to you, personally. What types of training do you prefer? Do you participate in any sports?
Amelia: My main sports are running and horse riding. I generally set my training goals around those two sports. I recently completed my first marathon, and came in 6th in my age group, which has motivated me to do even better! As far as training goes, I really mix it up though. Previously I was heavily into weight training, but decided that biceps and LBDs don’t go well together, so my main upper body training comes from boxing now. I am a huge advocate of strength training, and I am lucky enough to have laid down a really good level of strength for my size. Therefore I tend to mix my strength work in with other training such as boxing. After the marathon, I have re-focused on yoga and joint mobility training such as CST (circular strength training) and I can feel how appreciative my joints are for it. My motto is to mix it up, always.
Logan: Talk about your workouts and how many days per week that you train.
Amelia: Marathon training (i.e.16wks leading up to a marathon) 4-5 runs per week: 30km (18.75mi) every Sunday and 17km (10.6mi) every Tuesday. Plus 2 sprint/weight sessions and a gentler shorter run. I increase my total weekly distance 10% per week and peak at 80km (50mi) per week for 4 weeks. Regular training 5-6 days/wk: 10km (6.25mi) run 3 x’s week. Yoga/stretch 2 x's week. Boxing/strength class 2 days/wk.
Logan: Do you have a nutrition strategy or follow any particular diet?
Amelia: 1500 cal/day: 100g protein, 45-60g fat, 2 pieces of fruit, 5 types of veggies, 2L water, Juice Plus vitamin supplement and Omega 3,6,9, fish oil. This is my general guide. Although I don’t count everything I roughly know how much is in most foods (this comes from educating myself with a calorie count book). I also put a lot of thought into what I eat. Ask me what I had to eat last Sunday and I could tell you. Most people can’t remember what they ate yesterday (or they only remember the good bits!). I really only eat 2 big meals per day (breakfast is always the biggest) then something small for the third meal. For example if I know I am going out to dinner, I barely have lunch. On the flip side if I have a big lunch, then it’s just soup or salad for dinner.
Logan: Do you take any supplements?
Amelia: Two supplements. I take Juice Plus multivitamin as it is the most highly researched multivitamin in the world. I’ve been taking it for eight years, and that’s how long it’s been since I had a cold. I also take fish oil (Effalex is my favorite brand) as I often don’t eat enough fish and my brain needs all the help it can get! I often take a protein supplement simply because it’s hard to get your daily dose in without eating too much meat.
Logan: Tell me about your web site and its mission.
Amelia: I get asked thousands of questions about health, exercise, motivation and life in general. My website is a collaboration of all the topics that interest my health club members, clients, friends and family members. It gives me a portal to spread my message that health and fitness really does drastically change people’s lives. Here is an excerpt from my ‘about’ page.
"Do you want to be ordinary or extraordinary?"
My goal is to provide great quality health and fitness information for my readers.... I see fitness as a training platform that can improve all areas of life. Confidence grows when achievements are made. Fitness allows people to develop themselves in areas other than work, or home life.... I encourage you to leave comments, stories and questions as this is an interactive blog designed to help you find information and motivation to help you reach your health and fitness goals. My training philosophy: Feel the burn, love the burn!
“I am opinionated and abrupt, but I know my stuff so lets get cracking and talk health and fitness.” --Amelia Phillips